North Korea has apparently fired two powerful new Musudan mid-range missiles, according to the US and South Korean military officials.
At least one of the launches is said to have failed, Pyongyang’s fifth such reported flop since April.
Despite the repeated failures, the North’s persistence in testing the Musudan is causing concern for the US and its allies in Japan and South Korea, because the missile’s potential 2,180-mile range puts much of Asia and the Pacific, including US military bases, within striking range.
Each new test also presumably provides valuable insights to North Korean scientists and military officials as they push towards their goal of a nuclear and missile system that can threaten the US mainland.
Pyongyang earlier this year conducted a nuclear test and launched a long-range rocket that outsiders say was a cover for a test of banned missile technology.
A statement from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said a suspected first Musudan launch failed, but gave few other details on the early-morning firing from near the North’s east coast city of Wonsan.
Later, the JCS said the North fired another suspected Musudan, but it was not immediately clear if the launch succeeded.